HUM 112 Assignment 2 – Project Paper

Project Paper

HUM112: World Cultures II

Project Paper

The two authors that I chose to write about from the Harlem Renaissance are Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. These two have always been some of my favorite writers from this time era. The literary works of these two authors help to shape what we know as the Harlem Renaissance. The time era that help blacks to find their place among white writers and to show off their talents.

Zora Neale Hurston, who was born on January 7, 1891, was the daughter of two former slaves, John Hurston and Lucy Potts Hurston. Hurston was one of four children that her mother and father had and after the abrupt death of her mother, life for Hurston took a turn for the worst. After pretty much being abandoned by her father, she worked miniscule jobs to be able to support herself. After a while Hurston found herself amongst other artist such as Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson and many more.

The influence that Hurston portrayed in the era of the Harlem Renaissance, was that of a strong, intellectual and resilient black woman. Her works like There Eyes Were Watching God, was one of her acclaimed works that was heavily criticized by the men in the black community. The booked portrayed the life of a young black woman by the name of Janie Crawford.

Crawford was an African American woman who was raised by her grandmother and after she got of age she was given away by her grandmother to a much older man. Janie, who was married a total of three times felt as though she finally found love when she met Tea Cake, a straggler that came upon that town that her and her then husband, helped to build from the ground up. This literary work showed that a woman was able to survive through some of life’s toughest time and did not need the help of a man.

I did not know much about Zora Neale Hurston until Oprah Winfrey made a movie out of her book, There Eyes Where Watching God. It was not until after I saw this movie did I read the actual book and some of her other literary works such as her autobiography Dust Track on a Road and Tell My Horse. After reading Their Eyes Where Watching God I became and instant fan and had to continue to read other books that were written by Hurston. In her books, I feel as though Hurston tested bounds to see what reaction she may get, if were to be positive or negative it seems as though she did not care. After some detrimental situations in Hurston’s life, it was as if she could not find the voice to be able to write again. After having several strokes, Hurston passed away in her hometown in Florida.

The second author from the Harlem Reminisce era that I chose to write about is Langston Hughes. Born James Mercer Langston Hughes on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, Hughes is best known for his poem Harlem or what most would know it as the play write a Raisin in the Sun and his most famous quote, “What is a dreamed deferred?”

Hughes was raised by his mother and grandmother, it is said that his mother and father split shortly after his birth. Shortly after the death of his grandmother, his mother finally settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated from high school. The same summer that he graduated from high school is when his first poem was published, The Negro Speaks of the River.

The Negro Speaks of the River brought a great deal of attention to Hughes and from this he was able to attend Columbia University. It was in DC, working as a bust boy in a hotel, where he was able to slip a well know author some of his poems. The author was able to get is work published in a newspaper in DC and from there he was able to attend Lincoln University in the 1960s.

Although Alain LeRoy Locke is considered to be the father of the Harlem Renaissance, I personally have always felt that Langston Hughes was the father of this era. Not because he seems to be the one that is more talked about when it comes to this era, but it seemed as if the literary works of Hughes seem to connect more to the life of what people were experiencing. Hughes was able to make you live what you were reading in his work without being in that time era. For example, his poem Harlem, that most know as a Raisin in the Sun, in this piece of work he was able to make you see his thoughts through your own eyes. This is why I consider Langston Hughes to be the godfather of this time. His work made you want to be apart of the time to be able to experience what he was writing about.

Langston and Zora have always, in my opinion, been two of the best writers from this time era and the history of their works will continue to live on in generations to come. They both were able to share their stories and deliver them to their audience in a way that made you feel every word that they wrote. These two writers continue to inspire authors of the new generation. These two legends will forever be in the history books of poetry.


The Estate of Zora Neale Hurston. (n.d.). Zora Neale Hurston. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

Zora Neale Hurston. (2018, January 23). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2016, August 08). Zora Neale Hurston. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2016, August 08). Langston Hughes. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

“Langston Hughes.” Langston Hughes,

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